The Hard Soft and Smart Model Project 

The study designed to test hypotheses formulated based on Hard, Soft and Smart Leadership Model.

Workplace Motivation Project

The Hard Soft and Smart Model is a way to analyze and visualize the sources of motivation within a company. It can be used on an individual level, a team level or an organizational level. The model builds upon my personal experience and in open conversation with contributors such as Jon Adolfsson, Aram Hovsepyan, Jan Flachet, Danny Moortgat, Dirk Torfs and upon ideas and observations by leading voices such as Ricahard Barrett, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Simon Sinek, Ricardo Semler, John Maxwell and Emmanuel Gobbiot.

Three Sources of Motivation


Hard motivation includes all material factors, such as salary package, car, phone, laptops, housing, travel expenses, office view, etc… 


Soft motivation refers to interpersonal relations in the work environment, the most important one here is the relationship with the direct boss. But also other relations with colleagues play an important factor. This is the human face of the job and often the relationships developed pay little heed to the organigram of the organization. A bad relationship can sour the mood independent of whether there is a formal relationship affected.


Smart motivation refers to self-realization, intrinsic value in work, and prestige. Meaningful work, personal growth and achievements fall under this category.

The Healthy Balanced Organization

Being aware that the sensitivities towards each source of motivation are different in each person, and that these sensitivities are not constant but evolve over time, we can map the compound scores of an organization, unit, or team for an individual moment.

The sources of motivation are not interchangeable. A healthy organization must score high on all three measurements. You cannot compensate lack of pay by being nice or the lack of meaning by more salary. To illustrate this, we extrapolate the situation to its extremes to create waypoints on a mental map. The extremes with only one source of motivation probably don’t exist or cannot exist for a long time. The extremes with two sources of motivation may survive but at a high cost, such as high staff rotation, low productivity and high incidences of sick leave. In the real world, most situations will be somewhere in between and rarely as extreme as depicted here. The point of illustrating this is to provide the mental map and the vocabulary to address the dangers of unbalanced sources of motivation.

The illustration of unbalanced situations, as well as theoretical considerations of differences in the marginal utility of each source of motivation, are presented in the working paper, that you can download here.

The assessment tool for the study has been piloted and data collection for the study is planned for September and October 2018. Upon completion of the data collection, we will be able to test hypotheses and provide useful insights about sources of motivation within the organizations.

Currently, we are seeking working professionals willing to voluntarily participate in the study. Participation will take no more than 10 minutes to fill out the questionnaire. Participation is fully anonymous, the results will be kept confidential and only aggregated results will be presented. To participate in the study, please, leave your contact information (email), and in October we will send you the link to the questionnaire. Thank you for the contribution!

Dag Flachet

Professor at Geneva Business School in Leadership and Entrepreneurial-related topics. Dag Flachet is an entrepreneur and an investor. He started his first company called Compudoc at the age of 21. Compudoc still exists and has performed more than 50,000 technical support interventions at more than 20,000 homes and businesses throughout the years. Other projects have involved, amongst other ideas, crowdsourced fast-food and a marketplace for online community managers. Flachet Holdings is a fund run by Dag which helps entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market and to scale their business. Projects of Flachet Holdings include Codific, an encryption, server security and GDPR compliance specialist, a coding academy BeauBol, a social for-profit project intended to reduce plastic waste, and a marketplace for private tutors. Dag has an executive MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship from Flanders Business School and from Kellogg School of Management under a joint international program.

Current Projects

Digital Leadership project

Sports Leadership project